rocket ship go!

March 12, 2008

i <3 teh cakes

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 2:50 pm
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I only have a picture of one of the cakes I made this past weekend (and luckily it’s the more delicious one), but both of them were nice n’ tasty. And making two cakes in one weekend is an amazing thing (one of the many things that made this past weekend grand).

The cake that I do NOT have a pic for is a re-do of chocolate pudding cake, but so much better. I added in the optional 1/2 c. chocolate chips to the batter, and instead of pouring 2 1/2 c. of hot water over the batter before baking, I used fresh coffee. So just imagine the cake in the link above, only blacker and 5 times as intensely chocolate. When I made it before, it was pretty easy to just gobble down cuz it was kinda light. But this cake actually left you feeling full, which desserts rarely do for me (unless I eat an insane portion). Satisfaction, finally! What made it all the more glorious was that a dear friend of mine from high school, Jordan, was in town Friday night, so he and I got together with one of my roommates and whipped this cake up and enjoyed it together, and Jordan and I introduced my roommate Kelley to some of our favorite Nashville muzik. It was loads of fun, and while Jordan and I hung out I lamented missing my bf (who is a friend of his), and he lamented missing his gf Dree (who is one of my best friends). We were feelin’ so nostalgic and reminiscing about our loves, it was great.

Now, the cake I have pictures of, that I made on Saturday night, is *even better* than the chocolate-y pudding cake I just talked about.

The recipes are all from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. It was the golden vanilla cake, filled with some plain ol’ strawberry jam (so good), covered in orange buttercream, and drizzled all over the place with quick melty chocolate ganache. Maybe it was just that the intenseness of the chocolate pudding cake from Friday overwhelmed me, but this this cake was so amazing and fresh tasting, I looooooved it. And all who partook were like, “This is so moist; how do you make it like this without eggs?” I was like, “It’s a special vegan recipe… and lots of oil.” I got to see one of my dear friends on Sunday, and I think she and I devoured most of it together. So nice to hang out with another girl who loves to eat cake as much as me.

But when I was baking the cake on Saturday night, I had to share the itty-bitty dorm kitchen with this handful of high people who were baking some cream cheese brownies or something like that and filling up and stumbling around the kitchen. I’m such a control freak, I wanted to be like, “STONERS OUT!” But everything turned out fine and they left about halfway through my time in the kitchen. So no worries, dude.

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February 26, 2008

the elvis

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 4:00 pm
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It’s a banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting, from VCTOTW. And chocolate chips, because I’ve been craving the peanut butter-chocolate-banana combo like none other.

I’m pretty sure I bought the exact kind of pb they said not to in the buttercream recipe. It’s supposed to be smooth and stable;  I got the slightly gritty “natural” kind that separates really easy. As a result, the frosting texture is a little off (although the flavor rocks). The majority of the jar of pb I bought is going towards personal consumption, not cupcakes, so I’ll do whatever I want! The flavor of natural pb is so much better: so rich and savory, and it’s gratifying to look at the ingredients and just see “peanuts, salt.” Very minimalist.

February 23, 2008

lemon cupcakes

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 12:42 am
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With lemon buttercream, a la Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Sorry for the boring pic, y’all.

The buttercream follows the book to a tee, but the cupcake recipe is the Golden Vanilla Cupcake recipe with 1 T. of lemon zest added. Also, I used 1 T. canola oil and subbed the rest of the fat with soy yogurt.

I went to the co-op and bought lots o’ cupcake supplies, so hopefully more to come…

January 13, 2008

why?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:45 pm
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…did they fall? These Carrot Cake Cupcakes are only my second attempt from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The coconut limes ones were perfect, fluffy and high. These carrot cuppers rose, then fell and browned too much in they oven. They looked kind of pitiful when they came out. I don’t know why they did this, but it seemed to me like the recipe had too little flour (2/3 c. for 12 cupcakes). I let my cousin stir up the batter; I don’t think he overbeat it? Then the oven was too hot, but not by more than 25 degrees… umm, that sounds a lot worse than it looked on the oven thermometer when I put the batter in. These were my mom’s birthday present from me, and I wanted them to be perfect. But the texture was a little overly moist and fall-apart-y.

However, the flavor was really nice. I used black walnuts, which I did not know would taste so funny, but my parents liked them, my dad gettin’ all nostalgic over them and talking about picking fresh black walnuts. The veg cream cheese frosting was awesome, so I really liked the middle of the cakes, where it was all welled up in the indentation.

December 27, 2007

christmas food

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 2:57 am
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I’ve been really busy cooking lately. Attending family gatherings means providing food for myself to eat there, and then at holidays all the food is really rich and even the vegetable side dishes are dairy-laden, so I end up only eating the entree that I brought with me, plus the obligatory green salad that someone else has made. And since it is the holidays and everyone in my fam is stuffing their faces with the plethora of non-vegan food around them, I compensate by eating copious amounts of my entree + salad. That gets a little boring, no?

When we all went to visit my dad’s side of the family, I made some enchilada casserole, which I already made a few months ago. Also, a few days before Christmas, I made two types of food gifts for members of my family: peppermint brownies;

and cheezy crackers, and they both turned out tasty-liscious. The brownies are based on a recipe from the PPK. They’re not very sweet, but that went nicely with the minty aspect, I think. The only change I made to the original recipe was to sub 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract with peppermint extract and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top. These brownies are soft, fluffy, and moist, so you should eat them.

When we went to my mom’s family’s house, I made a couple of different things. The first was sweet potato gnocchi:

Crappy shot, I know. I got the recipe from one of my favorite blogs. I made these last year for Thanksgiving, and while they are pretty tasty, I’m starting to feel like they’re not worth the effort. You have to resign your kitchen to having a coating of orange dough all over it, and the gnocchi turn out frail and break when you try to toss them with a sauce. Maybe more flour next time… Also, the sauce in the original recipe is a little overwhelming to the delicate sweet potato flavor, so I just tossed them with a spiced Earth Balance glaze.

For a low-fat cake, this chocolate orange creation turned out fantastic. I left out the cinnamon and added almond extract to make it like my favorite chocolate orange cookies, and the results were perfect. The recipe:

1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 c. cocoa powder

3/4 c. soy yogurt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 t. almond extract
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. orange juice (fresh-squeezed is best)
2 T. orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a Bundt pan.
Sift together the dry ingredients (flour to cocoa) into a mixing bowl. Stir to combine, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour this into the dry ingredients and beat with a mixer on low or by hand until just combined, 1-2 minutes.
Pour the batter into your Bundt pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife stuck in the cake comes out clean (in the end, my knife still had a little batter stuck on the tip). Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out to cool completely.

chocolate glaze:
1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 T. cocoa powder
2 t. orange juice
1/4 t. vanilla
extra oj, as needed

Stir these together with a fork, adding just a bit of extra orange juice until the frosting is drizzle-able. Spoon it over the completely cooled cake. After it has set, do the same with the orange glaze:

1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 t. orange juice
1/2 t. vanilla extract
extra oj, as needed
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Guess what my parents gave me for Christmas?

Finally! They also got me a shiny aluminum 12-cup muffin pan to take back to college with me, and my sister got me a micro-plane grater, all of which I used to make a Christmas gift for Kate:

Coconut lime cupcakes. Sublime is the only way to describe them. When Kate’s mom tried one, she said, “These are four-star cupcakes!” (I’m going to assume she was rating them on a four-star scale, of course.) She really was mystified as to how to make cupcakes without eggs or milk or butter, especially the frosting, but then again, Earth Balance is a very mysterious concoction. You’d think that, in the year 2007, people would realize that just about anything is possible, food-wise or otherwise, but the phrase, “These are vegan?!” never gets old to me. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna freakin’ love this book.

And my dad got a new camera for Christmas, which means I have inherited his old one, which has a macro setting on it, so now I can take awesome food pics, such as the cupper-cake shot above. Even in the dying afternoon light, you can see the beautiful texture of the coconut flakes and the lime wedge. I love it!

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